Saturday, April 12, 2014

GRADUATION THEME SERIES: Theme 3: Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink Grad Party


I love this “Pretty in Pink” Seaside graduation theme! So fresh, simple and…pink! So this is theme 3 of my graduation series. The first two were:

  1. “You are my Sunshine”  (Click here for the link. )
  2. “The Next Chapter”     (Click here for the link.)


This party lends itself to a sit down meal. Renting tables is pretty inexpensive and so easy. Just make sure you call the rental company ahead of time so they have time to order them. I also rented white linens for this party. For the runner, I bought fabric from a local fabric store and ripped long pieces for the table runner. I didn’t even hem the seams. Lanterns add some height and interest and I speckled the table with shells. Flowers always add a touch of life.

pretty in pink grad themeI printed the menu on craft paper card stock. Fun little detail describing the different salads on the buffet.

tassle banner


Stringing a tassel banner above the table along with some lights makes the occasion even more festive. The tassels are so easy to make. Here is a source for a tutorial on how to make the tassels. (DIY Tassels)

floral centerpiece

You can use all white flowers and wrap your vase in a colorful paper.

floralsOr you can use different colored flowers.

frame picturesFor a fun “photo booth” buy old frames from a second half store and tie them up on trees and let people go crazy with them. (I don’t know the source of this picture. If you come across it somewhere please let me know.)

pink grad inviteThis pretty in pink invitation has it all; option for a picture, beautiful colors, scroll embellishments…Love it!! (Click here for source)



Adorable additions for a cupcake dessert table. Sprinkles, cupcake liners, colorful bags etc are found at this adorable shop on etsy.






Thursday, April 3, 2014

(3) EASTER CENTERPIECES: It’s Time to Plant

Easter BunnyIt’s time to plant your Easter grass.  It is a fun way to add some spring decor to your house and the Easter dinner/brunch table.  It’s simple, easy and inexpensive to do but you do need to plan ahead.

Easter is now less than 3 weeks away so it’s time to start.  Besides being a fun way to decorate for Easter it also makes a nice gift to give to friends or neighbors.


  • Wheat or Rye Perennial grass (you can purchase from your local hardware store)
  • Fertilized in-door planting soil
  • Containers
  • Small pebbles

Directions: The process is super easy.

  1. Put pebbles in the container first if the container does not have a drain.
  2. Place soil in containers
  3. Add water (the soil should come an inch from the top of the container)
  4. Sprinkle seeds on top (Do not push the seeds down into the soil)
  5. Spray water on top of the seeds
  6. Cover with a wet paper towel
  7. Every day I spray water on top of the paper towel to keep it moist
  8. When the seeds start to sprout, remove the paper towel, and keep it by a window
  9. Continue to spray with water
  10. In about 8 days the grass should be about 1 inch tall
  11. As the grass grows you can give it a little trim whenever it needs it.
  12. ENJOY!

Ivory Easter Pot


I love this little pot that sits on each individual place setting. I replanted the ivory in this little vase and used curly willow branches to make a “cage”. Each curly willow branch was cut the same length, stuck in the dirt and and tied at top with twine. Adorable!!

HyacinthHyacinth and Muscari create a beautiful centerpiece. I love the focal point of the purple Hyacinth with the grassy leaves of the Muscari. Cement vases are so in right now. I absolutely love the look. The beautiful wrought iron cage adds height and drama to this centerpiece.



Monday, March 31, 2014

GRADUATION PARTY SERIES: Theme 2: “Your next Chapter”

the next chapter

“Your Next Chapter” is a great theme for a Graduation Party!  This theme focuses on the graduates Next Chapter of Life opening their eyes to the possibilities and excitement ahead of them and helping them begin their new life story.

What a perfect backdrop; famous authors and quotes copied onto craft paper. It is inexpensive and makes a huge impact when strung together and hung from a branch. Draping greens on top adds life and color


Stack some old books and add an old fashion typewriter to your table. This table was created by Spring Sweet and she had product displayed. But instead of product use this table as your buffet for a “Cookies & Milk” dessert bar.


You can buy vintage books from garage sales, flea markets etc. I found a source on line that is very reasonable; “Books by the Foot”.

vintage books

At “Books by the Foot” you can get distressed vintage cloth books,

books by color

books by the color, and,


coverless hardbacks bound together by basic twine.


For your dessert, why not have a cookies and milk buffet. Make a few different types of cookies, (have a few friends or relatives bake a few dozen as well) and put them on pedestals, in glass jars etc. (Dessert table created by Lisa Landry for her son’s graduation party)

glassine bags

You can get glassine bags from WinkEvents and the large glass jars from Meijer or Walmart.


These adorable cookie labels were made with book pages and a printer. Tape them on a skewer and stick the skewer in an apple.  Thank you Lisa Landry for this perfect idea!! I made my Oatmeal Butterscotch Pecan Cookies for this cookie bar. (recipe below)

481293_10150997206537249_1183627074_nAnother great idea for decor! Supplies needed:

  • old frame
  • enlarged picture
  • book pages
  • printer
  • glue dots

book grad invite

A leather book style invitation from Tiny Prints is a fun idea for your child’s graduation party!!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

GRADUATION PARTY SERIES – Theme 1: “You are my Sunshine”

Sunshine graduation

Are you tired of the high school graduation party standby of diploma die cuts and black and white decorations? I sure am. Several of my friends have seniors who are graduating this June. They have asked me to give them some ideas of themes that are unique and different. Since I love to create events that are easy to prepare and homemade I came up with a few inexpensive ideas with that WOW factor.

This post is the first of four different graduation themes to inspire you as you start planning the party for your graduate. I will include pictures of decorations, desserts, florals, invitations, diy projects, tablescaping etc.


You are my sunshine 1

I created this rustic, lemony dessert table for my daughter’s middle school graduation last year. Anyone who knows Sara sees her bright, cheery, fun personality. I found the “Sunshine” frames from Karla’s Place downtown Holland. For the desserts I made lemon bars, lemon cookies and lemon pudding shots.

lemon bars

I have been making lemon cars since I was a child. Lemon bars were also a favorite of mine to make in college because they were quick and cheap to make. So this recipe has been perfected over many years!


The Lemon Pudding Shots are an adorable addition to the dessert bar. Nothing fancy, just adorable. I filled these little shot glasses that I bought at Meijers with lemon pudding and topped with whipped cream. For the outside of the glass, cut strips of decorative paper and wrap around the glass. Tie a wooden spoon with twine and voila…so cute!

lemon icebox cookiesLemon Icebox Cookies were the perfect sweet addition. Easy to make in large batches. Make them ahead of time and freeze them until your celebration. See the recipe at the bottom of this post

You are my sunshine 2These sweet lemon drop cupcakes are from Sam’s Club. They are perfectly bite-sized and quite inexpensive.  The pinwheels add a whimsical touch.


  • Invitation: Tiny Prints
  • Lemon Drop Cupcakes: Sam’s Club
  • Yellow Sun Pinwheel: DIY project
  • Stripe Straws: Michaels
  • Yellow and White Stripe Boxes: Michaels

you are my sunshine 3The pom pom on top of the cake turns a regular two-layered cake into a centerpiece cake. The pompoms are so easy to make. Tape them to skewers then stick the skewers inside the cake. What a fun, cheery theme!

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling


  1. In a food processor, pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and lemon zest until combined.
  2. Add butter and process until sandy.
  3. Add egg yolks and lemon juice; pulse until dough comes together.
  4. Divide dough in half and form each into a 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm, about 2 hours (or up to 1 month).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  6. Spread granulated sugar on a piece of parchment; roll logs over sugar to coat. Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Recipe Source:


Thursday, February 27, 2014


almond biscottiBiscotti means “twice baked” in Italian, and double baking is the secret to making these wonderful crunchy cookies. To make biscotti, the dough is shaped into an oblong loaf and baked. The baked loaf is then cut into slices that are baked again until they become dry and hard. Dip the bottom of the sliced cookie in melted chocolate then dip the entire cookie into a hot espresso…a slice of heaven!!



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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Spanish Hot ChocolateHot Chocolate vs Hot Cocoa…there is a huge difference!  Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate pressed free of all its richness, the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into milk. It is a rich decadent drink.

Ghirardelli Chocolate is the perfect base for the Spanish Hot Chocolate having a rich dark intensity and a hint of smooth sweetness.  Add milk, vanilla and a little sugar and you have an incredible dessert drink.  Toasting marshmallows for the top is a perfect compliment!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

VALENTINE’S DINNER: Ribeye Steak & Red Wine Pasta

To watch my demonstration of these recipes on Take Five & Company, click here;—252014


A delicious Valentine’s menu! It’s beautiful and worthy to serve your loved one and oh so easy! Serve it with Arugula tossed in a light vinaigrette and topped with Gorgonzola cheese…WOW!

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Monday, February 3, 2014

VALENTINE’S DESSERT #1: Chocolates Pots de Creme

chocolate pots de creme


Valentine’s Day is coming up and I am creating a series of my favorite chocolate desserts. Chocolate Pots de Creme is the first in this series. It is super easy to make and absolutely delicious! You can make this dessert the day before. Don’t you love the pop of red with the fresh raspberries?

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


salmon chowderI will upgrade this photo tonight.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

PORK TENDERLOIN w/Apples and Cranberry Pecan Quinoa



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